Competition law solicitors
Our competition law solicitors provide a results-driven service combining real-world experience and technical legal expertise to advise on all aspects of competition and procurement law as well as the new subsidy control regime which replaced the former State aid regime. We also give specialist and practical advice on the new National Security and Investment Act and its impact on different types of transactions.
Following Brexit, the UK has developed its own competition, procurement and subsidy control rules distinct from those operated by the EU. Our recognised team of experts provides advice and training on these important areas of the law.
There are heavy penalties for businesses breaking competition laws including substantial fines, claims from third parties for damages and unenforceable agreements, while individuals can be imprisoned for up to five years, fined and disqualified from being directors. Competition laws also regulate potentially anti-competitive mergers and joint ventures, both UK and international, and the new National Security and Investment Act mandates compulsory pre-clearance of transactions by the government in certain circumstances.
We advise clients on competition law compliance and have successfully handled many high profile competition law investigations for clients. Examples of our work include:
- Advising UK Trucks Claim Limited on its application to the Competition Appeal Tribunal for a collective proceedings order to bring a claim for damages on behalf of owners and lessees of over 600,000 trucks which were sold by way of unlawful anti-competitive practices undertaken and admitted by a cartel of European truck manufacturers over a 14 year period
- Advising Swissport in obtaining unconditional clearance from the Competition and Markets Authority of its buy-out of Air France as its 50:50 joint venture partner in Heathrow Cargo Handling Limited
- Representing a commercial vehicles dealer in the investigation into anti-competitive cartel behaviour in the supply of Mercedes Benz commercial vehicles, negotiating terms of settlement with the regulator
- Representing a leading biscuits manufacturer on a 'dawn raid' carried out by the competition law regulator in relation to its inquiry into alleged retail price fixing by retailers
- Advising manufacturers and retailers on the Groceries Supply Code of Practice
- Establishing competition law compliance schemes and 'dawn raid' guidelines for clients.
- Obtaining clearances of corporate transactions from the UK Government Investment Security Unit under the National Security & Investment Act mandatory and voluntary pre-notification regimes
Our specialist Procurement service advises on and manages the correct procurement processes, including relevant notices, invitation to tender, conditions of contract and tenderers' replies, as well as award of contract matters, general compliance and all types of procurement disputes, including challenges.
We have genuine insight into your concerns, thanks to lawyers with in-house experience and membership of the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply. Our goal is to deliver value for money through a smooth, coordinated service with a single point of contact.
Examples of our work include:
- Advising NHS Blood & Transplant on procurement of all services and supplies required by the national response to the Covid-19 pandemic;
- Advising a University on the attempted clawback of £multi-million of grant monies underpinned by an allegation that our client had breached the Public Contract Regulations 2015;
- Advising an HNS trust on challenging a tender outcome for specialist surgical procedures. This involved also consideration of judicial review proceedings and regulatory compliance;
- Acting for a University on the tendering, appointment and subsequent modification of a series of interlinked contracts covering the replacement of all finance, student records and HR systems.
- Advising a University on tendering for a funding partner to part fund a £27m development project to preserve covenant strength and keep an element of the project off-balance sheet. This utilised the competitive dialogue procedure and also involved us creating the contractual joint venture/finance documents together with all resultant land transaction work.
We specialise in subsidy control advice under the new UK regime post-Brexit and advise on grant and loan funding, regeneration projects and contract procurement. Examples of our work include:
- Acting for University of Cumbria and Carlisle City Council in providing subsidy control advice in connection with the multi-million pound development of a hyper-fast digitally enabled business interaction space in a new Carlisle Business Exchange centre (“CBE”). We advised on compliance of the project with the Trade and Cooperation Agreement, including notification under the transparency regime and also compliance with the Subsidy Control Act 2022
- Advising Stobart Group on subsidy issues in connection with regional Growth Fund grant funding for Carlisle and Southend airports under the European Commission communication “Guidelines on State aid to airports and airlines”
- Advising Maven Capital Partners on subsidy control issues on establishment of the Northern Powerhouse North West Equity Fund
The Weightmans team is recommended by the independent Legal 500 law firm directory, ranking the team in Tier 1 and rating practice head Laurence Pritchard as a "leading individual".